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Child Poverty

Volume 455: debated on Tuesday 16 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many children under the age of 16 from (a) Protestant and (b) Roman Catholic community background were living in poverty in each of the last five years. (113807)

It is too early to determine reliable trends broken down by age and religion from the recently introduced Family Resources Survey. However, by amalgamating two years’ data together it is possible to provide an estimate of the number of Roman Catholic and Protestant children in poverty. The average figures for 2003-04 and 2004-05 are presented as follows in terms of both before housing costs and after housing costs.

2003-04 and 2004-05






Roman Catholic






The Government’s anti-poverty and social inclusion strategy ‘Lifetime Opportunities’ sets specific targets for the elimination of child poverty by 2020.

In order to achieve this, resources and efforts will continue to be targeted on the basis of objective need.


1. Numbers are rounded to the nearest 100.

2. As with any sample survey the numbers quoted in the aforementioned table are subject to sampling error.

3. Data was sourced from Households Below Average Income Northern Ireland (HBAI NI). The HBAI NI is based on information collected from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). The FRS was first run in Northern Ireland in 2002-03.

4. The HBAI is the main source of income poverty measures throughout the UK.

5. Poverty is defined as households who have an income less than 60 per cent. of the contemporary GB median income.

6. Children defined as all under 16, or unmarried 16 to 18-year-olds in full-time education.

7. Income before housing costs (BHC) includes the following main components: usual net earnings from employment; profit or loss from self-employment (losses are treated as a negative income); all social security benefits (including housing benefit, social fund, maternity, funeral and community care grants but excluding social fund loans) and tax credits; income from occupational and private pensions; investment income; maintenance payments, if a person receives them directly; income from educational grants and scholarships (including, for students, top-up loans and parental contributions); the cash value of certain forms of income in kind (free school meals, free welfare milk, free school milk and free TV licence for those aged 75 and over).

8. Income is net of the following items: income tax payments; national insurance contributions; domestic rates (this includes water and sewerage charges for Northern Ireland); contributions to occupational pension schemes (including all additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) to occupational pension schemes, and any contributions to personal pensions); all maintenance and child support payments, which are deducted from the income of the person making the payment and parental contributions to students living away from home.

9. Income after housing costs (AHC) is derived by deducting a measure of housing costs from BHC income measure. Housing costs include the following: rent (gross of housing benefit); domestic rates; mortgage interest payments (net of tax relief); structural insurance premiums (for owner occupiers); ground rent and service charges.

10. Religion is based on the religion of the household reference person and therefore takes no account of mixed marriages.

11. As religion is not a grossing control factor for the Family Resources Survey all figures relating to this issue have to be treated with caution.

12. The response rate for the 2002-03 Family Resources Survey was considerably lower than for subsequent years and therefore all results from this year have to treated with caution. For further details please refer to the methodology section in the 2002-03 publication:

13. The following confidence intervals need to be applied to the data to be statistically valid.





+ /-4,900



+ /-6,100